New York City Center Encores! is one of the finest theatre productions in New York. I have attended every one since it began, with one exception, when after a hospital stay, I missed Irma la Douce. However, the original Broadway production I saw in 1962, with the adorable Elizabeth Seal in the title role. Paint Your Wagon. book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe, I saw in 1951, and I loved it. This new version is just as enchanting. The cast is superb, under the expert direction of Marc Bruni, with marvelous choreography by Denis Jones. The music is wonderful. Every song is a gem, and the cast sings them beautifully, with outstanding performances by Keith Carradine, Alexandra Socha, Justin Guarini and Nathaniel Hackmann. The chorus of men is magnificent, and when one leaves the theatre, one cannot help singing I'm On My Way and Wand'rin Star.
I attended a press event for The Visit at the Lyceum Theatre, where producer Tom Kirdahy introduced the director John Doyle, who told us about the show, with the book by Terrence McNally, composed by John Kander. On stage, Chita Rivera performed a song Love and Love Again from the musical. Chita sang beautifully, the song by John Kander was wonderful, and the remarkable Chita never looked lovelier. I eagerly await the opening night on Thursday April 23.
My wife and I were invited to a tasting at MamaSushi, 237 Dyckman St, a popular Dominican Republic owned restaurant. It turned out to be a banquet, prepared by the Executive Chef, David Nunez, also born in the Dominican Republic. Three individual appetizers (Crabmeat Pot Stickers, Escolar& Crispy Blue Point Oyster Roll, and Mexicano Roll) were followed by a meat entree (Wagyu NY Strip) and the a fish entree (Pan Seared Striped Bass). After a two hour tasting, with delicious wines, we were forced to skip the dessert (a Spring Roll). The restaurant is lovely, the service is impeccable, and the food is delectable. You will delight in the chef's Latin-Asian Fusian.
Film Society Lincoln Center presented press screenings for Art of the Real April 10-26. The Royal Road, by Jenni Olson, USA, 2014, was preceded by two fabulous shorts by Mark Rappaport, USA, 2014. Becoming Anita Ekberg showed film clips of the sexy Swedish actress, who gained fame appearing in Fellini's La dolce vita, the highlight of her career. Unfortunately, sex goddesses do not age well. The 17 minute film is delightful. The second short was The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk, which in 11 minutes showed the use of that piece of furniture in clips from many films, featuring wonderful film stars like Jane Wyman, Lana Turner, Joan Bennett and Barbara Stanwyck. This short has convinced me to pay more attention to certain pieces of furniture. Now to the main feature. The two attributes to Olson's film are that it is a documentary using voiceover, and fortunately she has a mellifluous voice. Also there is no musical accompaniment to her narration. However, when one listens to what she has to say, it is dispiriting. She sounds like a patient in a therapy session with her psychiatrist. The views of The Camino Real are not picturesque, and her film of San Francisco and Los Angeles would not inspire any tourist to visit. It is a dull and boring film.
Snakeskin, by Daniel Hui, Singapore/Portugal, 2014, is excruciating. It begins with making a fire, which unfortunately is repeated throughout the film. About ten people talk in voiceover, many of whom are unintelligible, or inarticulate, especially the one person, who repeats you know constantly. Some speak of their dreams, which are not very interesting. Another person speaks of his vision of black spots, which is even less interesting. The film focuses on close ups of rather unattractive faces. This does not give a good impression of Singapore. It is overlong, and some of the film is out of focus.
Naomi Campbel, by Nicolas Videla & Camila Jose Donoso, Chile, 2013, is a fictional tale, about a poor young man, who wants to change his gender. He lives in a slum, in Santiago, Chile, and cannot afford the sex operation. He auditions for a plastic surgery reality television show, but fails to be chosen. It is another grim depressing view of life in poverty stricken areas.
Lions Love, by Agnes Varda, USA/France, 1969, is about James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who became famous for writing the book and lyrics to the Broadway musical Hair in 1968, and Viva, an Andy Warhol film superstar, who are in Los Angeles, hoping to make a film together, while enjoying a menage a trois. The three sleep together, swim in the house pool, engage in idle conversation, and entertain three young children. After watching an hour of such self indulgent nonsense and ridiculous spontaneous dialogue, I was bored.